Press Room: 4th Annual Report Card on U.N. Secretary-General

The Feminist U.N. Campaign created its initial report card in early 2017, in response to Secretary-General Guterres declaring himself a “feminist” as he took the helm at the United Nations. Since then, it has measured the extent to which the Secretary-General advanced progress toward a more gender-equitable world and U.N. system across six recommendations.

This year, we found that the Secretary-General’s focus on gender equality remained and even increased in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, earning him a ‘B’— his highest score to date. To read more of the report’s findings, read the press release here.

Key Materials:


Key Messages:

  • In a year where progress could have easily stalled or been reversed, the Secretary-General’s focus on gender equality remained and even increased in light of the pandemic—earning him his highest score to date. The overall 2020 rating of ‘B’ recognizes the Security-General’s improved commitment to a feminist leadership agenda and his leadership on gender in the context of the COVID-19 response, including by mandating gender analysis as a condition for his new COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
  • Despite immense progress and attention to gender equality in the context of COVID-19, our 2020 assessment revealed stalled or lost momentum in other parts of the Feminist U.N. Campaign’s agenda.
  • As the pandemic prompted a move to virtual spaces for several U.N. gatherings, there were missed opportunities to enable more meaningful civil society participation and foster greater transparency.
  • We now have enough data to observe trend lines, which indicate overall progress from 2017 to 2020. Secretary-General Guterres has made great strides in prioritizing rhetoric, action and commitment on gender equality in line with Campaign recommendations. Trend lines also reveal key barriers to implementing a feminist agenda where the SG’s leadership could be stronger: decreased financing overall, pushback on women’s rights globally and insufficient inclusion of civil society.
  • In his fifth and last year of his first term, Secretary-General Guterres has an opportunity to make 2021 the banner year for gender equality and women’s rights that 2020 was supposed to be and see through the implementation of his commitments to gender equality.